| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
Friday, May 21, 2004
| CRT |
TDD (202) 514-1888
NEVADA OWNER, DEVELOPER, AND ARCHITECT PAY $718,000 TO SETTLE FAIR HOUSING LAWSUIT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the owner, developer, and architect of an apartment complex in Nevada to settle a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act. The case was referred to the Justice Department by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The defendants, Wilmark Development Co., Mark Schmidt Construction, and WLW of Nevada, Inc., designed and constructed the Green Valley Country Club Apartments in Henderson, Nevada. They have agreed to pay a total of $718,000 to make the complex accessible to persons with disabilities.
"When designers and developers of new construction fail to meet accessibility standards, they effectively deny housing to persons with disabilities," said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. "Today's settlement is a reminder that we will not accept such violations of the law."
The government alleged that the apartment complex fails to comply with federal law because, among other things, it has no accessible route into the apartments, doors in the units are too narrow to allow access by persons using wheelchairs, bathroom walls lack reinforcements needed for the safe installation of grab bars, and the common and public use areas are not accessible.
"With one in five persons in the nation having a mild or severe physical disability, there is no justification for not building accessible housing in America today," said Carolyn Peoples, HUD's assistant secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "HUD and the Justice Department are committed to doing all we can to ensure that persons with disabilities have housing that meets their needs."
Since January 1, 2001, the Civil Rights Division has filed 118 lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act, including 28 enforcing the Act's design and construct provisions that formed the basis of this lawsuit.